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This article is about video games. For the website, see 1UP.com. For the printing layout, see N-up.
"Extra life" redirects here. For the band, see Extra Life (band).

1-up (or “1UP”, “1-UP”, etc.), pronounced "one up", is a term in console video gaming that commonly refers to an item that gives the player an extra life,[1][2] to complete the game. In certain games, it is possible to receive multiple extra lives at once. When this happens, the number of extra lives obtained sometimes changes the notification from "1-up" to the number that reflects the total lives earned: Two lives would be "2-up", five lives would be "5-up", and so on. Games that don't do it this way often simply repeat the "1-up" notification in rapid succession concurrent with the number of lives awarded.


The term "1-up" appeared in American pinball games in at least the late 1960s, perhaps earlier. These games often gave players multiple chances. When a ball was lost in the gutter, the next ball was loaded and the game continued. If a player met certain conditions (such as a high score), they received an extra ball. Later, this concept was applied to arcade games. The inclusion of extra lives was very common in video games from the 1980s on, even in otherwise 'realistic' combat-themed games.

"1-up" was first seen in multi-player pinball and other arcade games. In these games, "1UP" meant that it was player one's turn. Likewise, "2UP" meant it was player two's turn, and so on. In some cases, arcade games also used this terminology to designate which score was whose. "1UP" followed by a score indicated it was player one's score, for example.

The use of the term "1-up" to designate an extra life (attempt) first appeared in Super Mario Bros.,[2] where the player could gain an extra life in one of three ways: 1) Collect coins (every 100th equals a '1-up') 2) Find a green mushroom (later called a 1-up Mushroom).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Parent's Guide to Video Games - Steven A. Schwartz, Janet Schwartz. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  2. ^ a b Orlands, Kyle; Thomas, David; Steinberg, Scott Matthew (2007). The Videogame Style Guide and Reference Manual. Lulu.com. p. 11. ISBN 1430313056. Retrieved 2014-12-10.